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Don't Stop Believin' is a hit ... again!

Thanks to a phenomenal cover by the cast of Glee, a new show on Fox that had a sneak preview Tuesday, Don't Stop Believin' is the No. 1 seller on the iTunes music store today. Somewhere, Steve Perry is sobbing with joy alone in the dark, wearing only those tuxedo tails from the '81 Escape Tour.

Even better: Journey's original version of the song is now up to No. 32 on the iTunes chart. Thanks to its continued use on shows like The Sopranos and Laguna Beach, it's the '80s anthem that lives on forever!

Someone at Fox stumbled onto brilliance by airing the pilot of the series months before Glee's actual debut. For those in the dark, the show tells the story of a young high school teacher who throws together a rag-tag group of misfits to reinvogorate the school's glee club, thus helping him relive his own glory days (sniff, sniff, okay, I'm tearing up) and to help ease the pain of his loveless marriage. (Okay, full out sobbing now.) Watch the full pilot on Hulu.

What magical powers does the '80s anthem Don’t Stop Believin’ hold over America?

HOW IT STARTED: Don’t Stop Believin’ was one of first writing collaborations between singer Steve Perry, guitarist Neal Schon and keyboardist Jonathan Cain, who had just joined the band.

NOT A HUGE HIT THEN: Released on Journey’s 1981 Escape album, the song wasn’t even the biggest hit on the record, peaking at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100. Who’s Crying Now and Open Arms both rose higher on the charts that year. The song does star in the 1982 video game “Escape” for the Atari home gaming system, where players have to guide band members past groupies and sleazy promoters to reach their scarab escape vessel.

“BORN AND RAISED IN SOUTH DETROIT”: That line early in the song tends to drive people from Michigan crazy, since Detroit really has no South side. (Windsor, Ontario, technically is south of Detroit.) One popular theory is that the band really meant Southfield, Mich., a suburb that’s ironically north of Detroit. Of course, it didn’t matter when singer Steve Perry performed the song; he often changed “South Detroit” to the city the band was playing in that night.

REBORN IN THE 21st CENTURY: In 2005, the song broke into iTunes’ Top 10 list of downloads after it appeared on Fox’s Family Guy and MTV’s Laguna Beach in the same week. The Chicago White Sox adopted it as their anthem during their World Series championship in 2005, with Perry singing the tune at the victory parade. Other TV shows playing it include The Apprentice, Scrubs, South Park and ...

THE SOPRANOS FINALE: On June 10, 2007, Don’t Stop Believin’ became the centerpiece to the final scene from HBO’s hit series The Sopranos. Sales of the song on iTunes rose 482 percent over the next few days. Permission to use the song wasn’t given until the very last minute and only after Perry -- afraid the song would be used in a murderous climax -- was told in advance how the show ended.

BUT STILL NO RESPECT: In November 2008, Don’t Stop Believin’ became the first catalog track in history to achieve online digital sales of more than 2 million units. But despite being eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for almost a decade, Journey has yet to be even named a finalist for induction. Why not? “It’s all politics,” Ross Valory told the Times last year. “Without being either negative or positive about it ... sooner or later it’s gonna happen. I have a feeling it’s going to happen sooner, but I’m still not going to hold my breath.”

UP NEXT: Will Don’t Stop Believin’ become a theme song of sorts for Glee? We’ll wait to wait until the fall to find out. In the meantime, a new movie Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey -- a look at the band and its new singer Arnel Pineda -- is scheduled for a Dec. 1 release. We can’t wait for the soundtrack!

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:46pm]


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